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Neal Casal (1968–2019), renowned guitar player

Getty Images / Jeff Golden

Influential roots rock guitarist played with Willie Nelson and Shooter Jennings

Neal Casal was a highly regarded guitarist and singer-songwriter who played with Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, and Ryan Adams. He played in Ryan Adam’s backing band, the Cardinals, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the Jayhawks, and recorded with Nelson, Lucinda Williams, and Tift Merritt. Casal also released multiple critically acclaimed solo albums. He was the voice coach for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn on the movie “Starsky and Hutch,” and appeared in the movie “Country Strong” as Gwyneth Paltrow’s guitarist.

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Died: Monday, August 26, 2019 (Who else died on August 26?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 50.

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On being a musician: “Mine hasn’t really been a rock star life. I’ve gotten to travel the world and see a lot of things that other people haven’t. Some of the other life building events that people go through… I haven’t had some of those things. It gets harder as you get older. I’ve definitely had an amazing life in music. That’s for sure. I’ve got to make so many records, tour, take photographers, write songs, meet new friends, and all of that.” —2018 interview with

What they said about him: “Neal Casal was a fantastic musician and a great photographer and a kind, sweet soul. We’ll miss him.” —Musician Jason Isbell

“Our dear friend Neal Casal has gone on to the great gig in the sky. Rest easy, brother. It won’t be the same without you.” —The band Greensky Bluegrass

Full obituary: Rolling Stone

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